Saturday, September 11, 2010

Brother, You Said It...

Last weekend, I paid a visit to Phoenix Rising, which as far as I know is the only gay and lesbian bookstore left in Virginia. It had been more than a year since I'd dropped in on the place, so I was just grateful that it's still afloat in these crappy economic times. I consider this evidence that if there is a God, He is really hard but ultimately fair -- at least when He's dealing with His queer children.

Anyway, I bought a book while I was there: Michael Lassell's The Hard Way. He's a gay man now in his sixties who has spent the bulk of his adult life writing poetry, essays, and stories. The Hard Way was published in 1995. Every time I go to Phoenix Rising, I end up buying a book. Maybe that's because I'm a print-based person trapped in a television-based society -- when I'm interested in learning something important, I always fall back on books. Lately, I've been wanting to go back to my roots, so to speak -- as a gay guy now in his 40s, I find that I'm quite interested in the things gay guys who are old enough to be my father have to say about being gay in a country that is only now starting to understand on a broad scale that the 3-4 percent of us who are gay are human beings too, surprise surprise.

And at one point, I reached this paragraph:

Julian wore red clothing exclusively and lied even when the truth would have done him more good. Some say this was because he was too stupid to know the truth, or had forgotten it; but others think it was just Julian's way of making sense of the world, which apparently made little sense to him on its own terms. They say the truth will set you free. But maybe Julian didn't like the idea of freedom. I tell the truth all the time, and it hasn't set me free.

I didn't know how to describe the way that last sentence hit me when I read it. But it definitely hit me. It wasn't quite anger toward how I'd been lied to by people I'd trusted, but it wasn't quite the long-awaited epiphany it could have or should have been, either. But now I do know how to describe it...

It is what it is. Simple as that.

It's not exactly inspiring, I know. But it's funny how I manage to keep losing track of this simple fact of life, even temporarily. You'd think me being gay in a still-largely heteronormative society would keep that in mind at all times...

1 comment:

  1. One of my friends writes for Dreamspinner Press -- an online gay site, m/m. I am slowly putting one of my last husband's stories onto the computer -- maybe it will fit with Dreamspinner requirements. Yes, of course he wrote gay stories. As a matter of fact, he used to regularly sell his porn to an online web site. It was so funny -- the publisher used great delicacy until he knew that I knew it was gay porn and that I had even read quite a bit of it. I contacted his publisher to tell him that John died, and got authorization from John's daughter to leave the online rights to his stories with his publisher. That was his original agreement.

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